Coach Baber relishes chance to pick best 12

Fiji Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber during the team's training session in Sydney, Australia earlier this year. Picture: JONACANI LALAKOBAU/FILE

FIJI Airways Fiji 7s coach Gareth Baber is relishing the challenge of picking the best 12-member squad for the Rugby World Cup Sevens in San Francisco, United States next month. With the abundance of local talents and experienced players overseas in contention, Baber has set the standard of competition high as they fight for a spot in the team. Speaking upon the team’s arrival from France yesterday after a second place finish in the HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series, Baber said it was a huge task to select the final squad, but ultimately he would have to pick a team that was going to win the title for Fiji. “I have a pretty good idea in my head of what the team would look like,” he said. “Obviously everybody is still in contention and is putting their hands up for selection. “I want to keep that going and I want to keep the competition as high as possible. “You want to get as many players as possible at that level and you saw Semi Radradra and Josua Tuisova playing in London and Semi Kunatani coming for the Paris tournament as well. Those three players have moved the numbers to nearly 18.” The players have been given the week off and will gather next week to sort out their visas and get their medical checks done. The side will train in Fiji for a week before heading to Utah for the remainder of their preparations in high altitude. Baber said they needed to plan how to win the World Cup. “We have to get back to recover and make sure that we are back at training in gearing up for the World Cup,” he said. “We have to plan on how we are going to win that. “Obviously we are disappointed with coming off last weekend but we pride in what we have achieved in the year also. “Notably some of the performances that we put together and unfortunately for two or three minutes of last weekend we would have done it. “We bring the boys back next week and they need to get their visas done and the medicals. Following week is really the week that they come back in training. “We will stay one week in Fiji and then fly off to America for acclimatisation. “Really that is to train in high altitude. We are going to play in a tournament there as well. We will take 16 players with the view to pick 12 at the end of it. “In terms of injuries coming back, there is nothing major. But things happen on a weekly basis so you need to have people training. “Injuries happen as well so I need to keep everybody ready for selection,” Baber said.